The New England Patriots made two picks in the third round. One of them has a chance to be their starting left tackle in 2018.
Coming into the 2017 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots were going to be limited because they didn’t have their picks in the first two rounds.
Due to trades with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, the Patriots were without a pick in the first two rounds of the draft. However, the trade with the Panthers gave the Patriots an extra pick in the third round in addition to acquiring Kony Ealy.
In typical Patriots fashion, they moved back in the third round and took defensive end Derek Rivers with their first pick of the draft. Shortly after that, the Patriots traded back up to select offensive tackle, Antonio Garcia.
Garcia comes from a small school at Troy, but he was extremely impressive at left tackle last season. In 2016, Garcia didn’t allow a sack all season, as he proved to be one of the best pass-blocking offensive tackles in the country.
According to Pro Football Focus, Garcia was graded as the second-best pass blocking tackle in this year’s class. For the Patriots, getting a player like Garcia is extremely good in the third round, and it makes the decision to trade up for him well worth it.
Even though Garcia won’t be starting in 2017, he can use the year to improve as a run blocker. With Nate Solder entering the final season of his contract, Garcia was certainly drafted to be a possible replacement for him in 2018.
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If Garcia is able to be a starting left tackle in the NFL, this would be a fantastic pick by the Patriots in the third round. Even though he might not have an impact in 2017, keep and out for Garcia in 2018.